Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Thinks Tanks a Hotbed for Spy Recruitment

Think tanks have long been a place for spies to recruit people.  Here is an excerpt from a recent Washington Post article on a US defense contractor who was allegedly approached at a military-related conference by a Chinese women and later began passing classified information to her.
In a classic espionage case, a 59-year-old former Army defense contractor in Hawaii was charged this month with passing classified information to his 27-year-old Chinese lover whom he first met at a military conference.
Benjamin Pierce Bishop, a former Army officer with a top-secret security clearance, worked at U.S. Pacific Command as a contractor. He is accused of turning over information about nuclear weapons, missile defense, and radar systems. The woman may have attended the conference “to target individuals . . . who work with and have access to U.S. classified information,” according to an FBI affidavit.
Last year, the FBI began a public campaign to alert the defense industry and other businesses to the “insider threat.” As part of the effort, billboards were placed along commuter corridors near nine leading research centers.
Here is more information from the FBI about the "insider threat" related to economic espionage.  Here is an FBI posting on how to spot a possible insider threat.  I wonder if the FBI will start putting up signs around think tank row.

Here is one more FBI memo on techniques that spies use to elicit information from people they meet at places such as think tank conferences.

Here is a Bloomberg report saying that American universities are "infected" by foreign spies detected by the FBI.

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post on which think tanks spies prefer.  Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post on former US spies who have joined think tanks.